BEIRUT

Lebanon News

One killed in north Lebanon clashes

Lebanese army soldiers deploy in Bab al-Tebbaneh in Tripoli, northern Lebanon, August 23, 2012. (REUTERS/Stringer)

TRIPOLI, Lebanon: One person was killed Sunday during clashes in the northern city of Tripoli between opponents and supporters of President Bashar Assad.

Fifteen-year-old Syrian Rola Fakhro was killed by random gunfire in the Jabal Mohsen area.

Gunmen from the rival neighborhoods of Bab al-Tabbaneh and Jabal Mohsen hurled rocket-propelled grenades.

The fighting erupted minutes after Future Movement MP Fouad Siniora delivered a speech at the funeral of slain Brig. Gen. Wissam al-Hasan in Beirut asking the government to resign and holding Prime Minister Najib Mikati's Cabinet responsible for the assassination.

Thousands of March 14 supporters gathered in Martyrs’ Square near the Mohammad al-Amin Mosque where the security chief was laid to rest alongside the tomb of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri who himself was a target of a 2005 car bomb.

Meanwhile, Tripoli's political and religious figures are expected to hold a meeting at the residence of North Lebanon Mufti Malek Shaar to discuss the recent alarming developments in the city.

Earlier Sunday, four people were wounded by sniper fire while sporadic sounds of gunfire, which began Friday following news of the assassination of head of Internal Security Forces Information Branch, continued well into the night.

A number of rocket propelled grenades were tossed in the Talaat al-Omari area as well as in the area of Abu Ali River.

Rival groups in the anti-Assad, Sunni-dominant neighborhood of Bab al-Tabbaneh and their rivals in Alawite-majority neighborhood of Jabal Mohsen have clashed on several occasions this year, leaving scores of people dead and over 100 wounded.

The Army strengthened its presence in the city following deadly fighting in August after rival political groups agreed to a tentative cease-fire.

As news emerged of the killing of Hasan Friday, angry residents blocked several roads in Tripoli using burning tires along with other areas in the northern region.

The opposition March 14 coalition has accused Assad of being behind the car bomb that ripped through a residential area near the busy Sassine Square in the Beirut district of Ashrafieh Friday afternoon leaving at least 5 people dead including Hasan and 110 wounded.

The group, which has a strong support base in Bab al-Tabbaneh, has also called for the resignation of Mikati’s Cabinet.

Mikati offered his resignation Saturday and called for the formation of a national consensus Cabinet, but was asked by President Michel Sleiman not to rush a decision, as he consults members of the National Dialogue Committee on the matter.

 

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